National champion and top seed Saurav Ghosal subdued a fighting Greg Lobban, the third seed from Scotland, to enter the final of the USD 35,000 Vedanta Indian Squash Open here today.
Ghosal, 12-time winner of the national men's crown who is currently ranked 14th in the world, put his best foot forward and scored a 11-8 13-11 11-6 victory in 54 minutes over Lobban, ranked 33rd globally, in a hard-fought semi final tie in the PSA Tour event at the NSCI courts in Worli.
In a repeat of the CCI International summit clash, Ghosal will meet second-seeded Swiss Nicolas Mueller tomorrow for the title following the latter's come-from-behind 9-11 11-6 13-11 11-4 victory in 54 minutes over seventh seeded English rival Chris Simpson.
It was the second win over Lobban in as many face-offs for the 31-year-old Ghosal, who intends to play in singles and mixed doubles in the April Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast, Australia, against the Scot.
"It was a tough match. Greg's a very accomplished player. I think he has done very well over the last few years. He had an injury last year and he's done very well post injury since last summer. So you know congratulations to him as it's not not easy to come back and play so well, so quickly," said Ghosal after his entry into the final.
"I had a certain plan, I watched a little bit of the way he played with Harry (Harinderpal Sandhu in the quarters) yesterday and I executed that plan. There are still places where I think I could have done a bit better, but that's also credit to Greg. But winning 3-0 against someone of the pedigree of Greg is good result any day of the week and so I take that and hopefully will play well (in the final) tomorrow," he added.
The India no. 1 won in straight games but needed to save a game-ball in the second game to clinch it over extra points and take a 2-0 lead over Lobban who lost the opening game too after fighting tooth and nail till 8-all.
Ghosal took hold of the first game from 8-all when his Scot rival found the tin, was beaten by a backhand winner from the Indian and then struck his forehand into the tin again at 8-10.
Kolkata-born Ghosal took the first two points in the second game before his five-point purple patch was halted by Lobban.
The Indian champion was up 6-3 and then 9-6 before Lobban reeled off four straight points to be up game-ball at 10-9. But Ghosal saved it and then led 11-10 only to see his rival finding the nick and levelling at 11.
But the Indian was not to be denied any more in the game as he took the next two points with two forehand winners that had Lobban scampering to retrieve them without success.
Up 2-0, Ghosal jumped to a 3-0 lead in the third and even though Lobban narrowed the lead down to one point twice, always looked to be holding a slight edge which he widened to 8-5 and then 10-6 by changing the direction and pace of his strokes.
Finally, Ghosal sealed the match and his spot in the semi final with yet another backhand winner.
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